The NBA got under way last night, with the LA Clippers and Brooklyn Nets winning the opening two games. As the league continues its stringent focus on COVID protocols, teams are likely to face extensive testing throughout the season ahead. In the latest NBA News, the players' association executive director has discussed the matter of testing for marijuana usage before games and believes the league's fanbase would be nonplussed by any new ruling.
Prior to the NBA's continuation of last season in the bubble, the league's directors decided to scrap cannabis testing as it was considered an unnecessary additional health risk. Now that the the 2020-21 season is underway, the latest NBA News suggests that the rule will continue.
In the latest NBA News, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts told The Athletic that she doesn't see any reason to test for marijuana or cannabis and that team's fanbases would likely be at home watching while smoking themselves.
“I don’t think our fans give a damn. I think our fans are smoking while watching at home,” she said.
Roberts has long been an advocate for the eradication of cannabis testing and believes it is not in keeping with the 21st century. Now that the drug is better understood and can be more widely accessed, she believes there is no reason to lump it in the same conversation with more threatening drugs.
Cannabis testing had been a mainstay in the league since the 1980s when the crackdown on drugs across America was brought into sport after Boston Celtics rookie Len Bias died of a cocaine-overdose. However, legalization and decriminalization of the drug have helped bring it to the fore of conversations as with Michele Roberts comments in NBA News.
NBA News: Adam Silver still concerned about the effects Marijuana can have on the league
Having coped well with COVID-19 and the creation of the bubble, the league's directors received a wealth of praise from fans and the media. Commissioner of the league, Adam Silver, has also weighed in on this NBA News with a measured response to the league's perspective on the use of marijuana, hoping the NBA's image can be maintained and can protect its players.
"Let's put off for another day the longer conversation about whether marijuana should still be on the prohibited substance list. We want to make sure we're not creating a trap for our players and putting in place rules that will put them in the crosshairs of the law."
Silver will continue to be concerned of the side-effects that the non-existence of cannabis testing can lead to. However, for now the impetus has been placed on the players. In NBA News, former player Al Harrington estimated that 80 percent of the league already uses cannabis, therefore whether it is caught or not is almost deemed irrelevant.
Let's hope that the NBA can continue with little impact from the coronavirus and that the removal of cannabis testing is not an issue that has to be raised in NBA News for the wrong reasons.Published 24 Dec 2020, 05:05 IST